Ford Motor Co. has certified over 200 dealers in about 25 states to sell its plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. This is triple its old figure. These dealerships now offer the Focus Electric electric vehicle and the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. Last May, the Focus Electric went on retail sale. As part of the limited run of the C-Max Energi, Ford has started to ship this model to certified dealerships.
Ford is currently working to certify 700 more dealerships to sell electrified vehicles. The dealers that are eligible will be prepared to open after the first of January, which is when Ford will introduce the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan. A Ford spokesman confirmed that by that time, the electrified network will have dealerships in all 50 states.
Ford had initially estimated to have about 350 dealerships to qualify nationwide so the automaker is pleased that the applicants for certifications exceeded expectations. The certification process began last spring with just 67 dealerships in three states (New York, New Jersey and California) given authority to offer the Focus Electric.
The C-Max Energi started production last October at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Dealerships must comply with the following rules to become certified: (1) Set up two 240-volt charging stations: in the public parking area and in the service area; (2) Secure at least one Focus Electric and C-Max Energi to use during demonstrations; (3) Have 80% of sales consultants, sales managers, service advisers and service managers pass training requirements; (4) Put up point-of-purchase display materials in showrooms; and (5) Join in Ford’s Go Green Dealer Onsite Facility Assessment to recognize opportunities to increase efficiency and limit the store’s carbon footprint.
“Ford’s strategy to deliver the power of choice for leading fuel economy across our lineup seems very well timed as our customers and dealers are showing significant interest in vehicles such as the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid,” says C.J. O’Donnell, Ford Electrified Vehicle Marketing manager. “C-MAX Energi joins C-MAX Hybrid to help Ford take on Prius for the first time, with great early signs as the hybrid outsold Prius v in its first full month of sales in October.”
When they become available for sale in 2012, Ford’s new C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are expected to set new standards in terms of fuel economy. In electric mode, the new Ford C-MAX Energi – featuring a 500-mile overall driving range -- is expected to return an equivalent fuel economy rating that is even better than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and the Chevrolet Volt. On the other hand, the new C-MAX Hybrid is expected to deliver a fuel economy rating better than the Toyota Prius V.
Both the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are recipients of Ford’s next-generation powersplit technology, which allows these hybrid vehicles to move faster even in electric mode. Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's Electrification Programs and Engineering, called the C-MAX as the right car as it fuses the dynamics and quality of a conventional car, the versatility of a multi-activity vehicle and a fuel efficiency level that even beats Toyota.
The new C-MAX hybrids are part of the carmaker’s revived vehicle lineup, around a third of which will have a model returning at least 40 mpg in 2012. These new hybrids should allow Ford to realize its commitment to provide fuel-efficiency-minded customers the so-called Power of Choice. Ford is currently implementing a short-term electrification plan that should allow it to triple the production capacity of its EVs by 2013. The new C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid – underpinned by Ford’s global C-segment platform -- are two of five electrified vehicles that the carmaker intends to introduce in North America in 2012.